In December, it was heartening to see that brands and retailers are not only thinking about products like clothing and accessories when it comes to sustainability but also product packaging, fabric and other recycling, powering stores and offices with renewable energies and involving consumers every step of the way. Also, sustainability plans and targets are definitely ‘in.’ FashionUnited has put together 16 such initiatives that were announced in December 2019 alone.
Cooperations & Projects
A number of new fabric mills, the brands Ateliers and Repairs, Bam Bamboo Clothing, Blue of a kind, Fairblue Jeans, Frank and Oak and Guess and manufacturers like Artistic Milliners, Denim Expert, Denim Village, Frontline and Soorty have joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign initiative in December. In doing so, they have pledged to meet guidelines setting out minimum requirements on garment durability, material health, recyclability and traceability.
Spanish fashion brands Desigual and Ecoalf have unveiled a 100 percent sustainable collection made in collaboration that has been made from waste and recycled raw materials. The capsule collection has been designed to “minimise the consumption of natural resources” while also being what the brand calls a “story of true love that transforms waste into timeless designs”.
German sportswear manufacturer Adidas has announced along with PrimaLoft that they are bringing their long-standing partnership to a new level that will see the strategic development of high-performance, sustainability conscious products. This new phase begins with the introduction of Adidas clothing made from insulation PrimaLoft created with Parley Ocean Plastic.
Brands & Retailers
US footwear and apparel company Reebok is going deeper into the sustainability movement. The athletic brand announced the launch of its latest design, the Forever Floatride Grow, a plant-based running shoe made from castor beans, eucalyptus trees, algae foam and more.
British heritage brand Mulberry unveiled its first 100 percent sustainable leather bag, as part of its ongoing sustainability efforts. The Portobello Tote has been designed to be a more streamlined, luxurious and sustainable option to the plastic shopping bag, and has been made at Mulberry’s carbon-neutral factories using heavy grain leather from a gold-rated tannery and the material is a by-product of food production.
Austrian luxury hosiery and lingerie brand Wolford has given its packaging a “contemporary update” to showcase what it calls the brand’s rejuvenation and commitment to sustainability. Environmental responsibility was a high priority in the design, using cellulose and wood as a base for its packaging, the printing colours have been proven to be sustainable and even food-safe also the cardboard used is completely recyclable.
Size-inclusive womenswear brand Universal Standard took a different approach as retailers took part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounting to start the holiday shopping season, by asking customers to donate denim for recycling in return for discounts on new merchandise.
US ready-to-wear brand Ralph Lauren announced a new plan to reach sustainable goals within the next five years. The brand has pledged that 100 percent of its offices, distribution centers and stores around the world will use renewable electricity by the year 2025.
VF Corporation, the parent company to brands like Vans, Timberland, Napapijri and Eastpak, announced the guidelines of its new sustainability and responsibility strategy. The apparel giant has launched a ‘Made for Change’ program, aimed at mitigating global warming by implementing an action plan in line with the Paris climate agreement, to reduce CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030.
German online fashion retailer Zalando is expanding its business with “green” apparel. By 2020, Zalando aims to become a leading platform for sustainable fashion. By 2023, sustainable articles are expected to account for up to 20 percent of the gross volume of goods - which corresponds to a value of 4 billion euros.
H&M has started delivering orders to its customers in the Netherlands by bike in a bid to cut down on carbon emissions. The Swedish retail giant has teamed up with Dutch bicycle courier company Fietskoeriers.nl for the initiative which offers next-day delivery and is priced like H&M’s regular next-day delivery service.
Companies & Education
The Conscious Fashion Campaign has officially launched following a yearlong pilot to accelerate sustainable development goals and bridge the gap between the fashion industry as it looks to support the upcoming Decade of Action. The aim is to help fashion companies better understand the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by driving change through advocacy, education and the engagement of industry stakeholders to create a “sustainable future for all.”
Swedish fashion chain Lindex has collaborated with CottonConnect on a project that aims to train and educate 350 female cotton farmers to work in a more circular way. The two-year 'Women in Cotton' project, which Lindex is funding, will help women from tribal areas in India transition from conventional farming to organic farming. They will also be educated about organic farming, business management, health and labour rights.
La Caserne is an education institution currently being created on 4000 square meters right in the heart of Paris. The force behind it is the enterprise L'Exception whose managing director Maeva Bessis talked in an interview with FashionUnited about the sustainable fashion incubator, which wants to be the largest of its kind in Europe.
- 2019 recap: is the fashion industry becoming more sustainable?
- Icebreaker combines natural fabric and high-performance outdoor wear
- Conscious fashion campaign launches to bridge the gap between the fashion industry and the sustainable development goals
- What does the EU's Green Deal mean for the textile industry?
Photo: Desigual Ecoalf